‘Alexa, Find That Purple Squirrel’

Artificial intelligence (AI) is great for getting tedious, mundane tasks off your plate, but could voice-activated AI platforms—like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant—help you find that purple squirrel?

Editorial credit: Charles Brutlag /

CNBC reports that jobseekers can now apply to McDonald’s by simply asking Alexa to help them find a job! In a statement, McDonald’s says, “Alexa can now assist with the first step of a McDonald’s restaurant job application, helping drive talent attraction worldwide through the McDonald’s Apply Thru [app].”

How Does It Work?

For jobseekers wishing to apply at McDonald’s, all they have to do is conjure up the Apply Thru app by saying, “Alexa, help me get a job at McDonald’s.” Or if they are using Google Assistant, they just say, “OK, Google, talk to McDonald’s Apply Thru.”

“After opening McDonald’s Apply Thru, all users need to jump-start their application process is answer a few basic questions ranging from their name, job area of interest and location,” says McDonald’s.  “Potential applicants receive a short text message shortly thereafter with a link to continue their application process.”

“The world’s first voice-initiated application process, the McDonald’s Apply Thru is available today as part of the recently launched Made at McDonald’s global hiring campaign that seeks to drive applications worldwide,” says McDonald’s.

“We must continue to innovate and think of creative, and in this case, groundbreaking ways to meet potential job seekers on devices they are already using, like Alexa,” said McDonald’s Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer David Fairhurst. “Alexa has many of the qualities we look for on our teams — friendly, responsive and fun. I am looking forward to having our application process simplified with Alexa.”

“Alexa makes life easier, and we’re thrilled to see McDonald’s utilize voice to create a simpler, more convenient job application process for customers,” says Steve Rabuchin, Vice President for Alexa in a statement. “With Apply Thru, customers can start the process for a job at their nearest McDonald’s restaurant — all they need to do is ask.”

While this feature is only available in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom, it is expected to roll out to other countries in the coming months.

Could Alexa Replace Your ATS?

Although Alexa isn’t there just yet, this news makes us wonder: Could Alexa replace your applicant tracking system (ATS) in the future?

Sure, McDonald’s has the means to create its own interface that connects with Alexa and Google Assistant, but could this technology become the future of recruiting? How would you feel if you could just ask Alexa to find the perfect candidate?

While we don’t have the answers to these questions, this latest announcement from McDonald’s makes us wonder about the “what ifs” when it comes to the future of recruiting technology.